If you don't have a written agreement
It is an offence against the Act if your lessor or provider fails to give you a written agreement. However if your agreement is only verbal, or if the written agreement you are given does not comply with the requirements of the Act, your rights are still protected and the Act will still apply to both you and your lessor or provider.
Names and contact details
Your written agreement must include the names and contact details of the lessor or provider, plus the contact details for you and any other tenants. It will state the amount of rent and how it must be paid, the amount of bond and any service charges you must pay.
In rooming accommodation, your written agreement should also include details of any services provided to you and how much of the rent is payable for each service.
When negotiating with the lessor, agent or provider you may make an agreement about additional matters. For example, you and the lessor may agree you can sub-let to a flatmate, conduct a home business or install agreed fixtures.
The lessor may agree to carry out improvements or want to add special terms, for example, who is responsible for pool cleaning. It is important to have evidence of any additional agreements by including them in writing as a special term in the agreement.
The Act always applies.
Any special terms in an agreement that contradict the Act are void and cannot be enforced. It is an offence for any person to enter into an agreement with the intention of avoiding the Act. If they do this, they could be fined.
The lessor, agent or provider must not include a term in your agreement that requires you to purchase goods or services from a specified supplier, such as a nominated carpet cleaning company. This is an offence and can result in a penalty fine.
A limited exemption applies in rooming accommodation, where the provider may nominate a personal care or food service, which will be provided as part of your agreement. An exemption also applies for fixed utility services supplied in moveable dwelling parks.
Your agreement must not include conditions that require you to pay a penalty fee (or fi ne) if you breach the agreement. This is an offence and could result in a fine for the lessor or provider. Any terms in an agreement about penalty fees are void.
However, it is not unlawful for the lessor, agent or provider to offer you a rent discount, for paying the rent on-time. The lessor or provider can also seek compensation from you if you break the agreement early.
Information supplied courtesy of the Tenants Union of Queensland Inc
Further information and advice for Queensland tenants can be sourced from www.tuq.org.au